Eden Hazard says he disappointed at the World Cup, admitting "things didn't work out as I had hoped"
The Chelsea star told the Belgian newspaper Sudpresse that the criticism that has come his way is justifed and said "we can always do better."
“Time can be a great healer,” goes a well-versed saying. In the case of Eden Hazard, the phrase may be more truth than tired cliché.
The Chelsea forward was expected to stamp his mark on the World Cup in Brazil – to be the face of a new generation of young attacking talents.
But Belgium disappointed horribly, lurching to a starchy quarter-final exit at the boots of eventual runners-up Argentina.
If Belgium were a let-down as a collective, then Hazard was their deserved fall-guy – the man with the responsibility of sparking their forward line could muster barely a sparkler of inspiration. Hazard was a spectre of the man who has made his name terrorising defences for Chelsea.
To his credit, he now admits that the criticism of Belgium’s collective and individual performances was justified.
“From the perspective of the team, we can always do better,” Hazard told the Belgian newspaper Sudpresse.
“But losing to the eventual finalists (Argentina) and making it to the quarter-finals isn’t so bad.”
Eden Hazard put in a disappointing showing for Belgium in Brazil
Hazard reserved more severe criticism for his own, listless displays that saw him notch just two assists and fail to score. His performances reached their nadir in the knockout stages against Argentina, when he was hauled off after 75 minutes with Belgium still searching for a goal.
He insists however that his failure to perform was not due to a lack of effort expended.
“From my own perspective, I recognise that the criticism that came my way was justified. I tried to give my all, but things didn’t work out as I had hoped.
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At least the Blues’ starlet has time yet to achieve on the international stage. “I will have the opportunity to play in perhaps three more World Cups,” he said.
That is true enough. But there have been many players just as naturally talented as Hazard who have performed brilliantly for their clubs, only to stumble time after time in their national colours. The Belgian has his best years ahead of him – yet underachievement can be a difficult skin to shed.
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